I’m not one for a store-bought costume. I never have been. I find them cheap and tawdry—even the children’s ones, and they seem to be getting worse each year. Over the last few years, I’ve been making all of our Halloween costumes, pirate festival costumes and Renaissance faire costumes instead of buying pre-made ones. It’s a lot of work, but worth it for both the learning experience and the pride in knowing I made something with my own hands and mind. This year, when my daughter announced she wanted to be Astrid, from “How to Train Your Dragon” I was secretly overjoyed that Elsa wasn’t even in the running.
I had quite a bit of fun with it. First off, I put in a call to Grammy, who agreed to make her some awesome variegated arm warmers. Thanks Grammy! Then, my daughter and I hand-dyed some cheesecloth in tea and green and dark brown fabric dye. It came out great! I then layered some pieces to create a tunic and a skirt for her. Here’s an early shot just pinned on:
Next up was creating the leather studded overskirt. I created a pattern, then cut each piece out and hand sewed the pieces together with waxed thread, then punched the holes and inserted the spiked studs. I used snaps in the front.
The toughest part was the shoulder armor. I didn’t want to make it out of anything too hard or heavy (though in hindsight, a harder material would have worked much more effectively) so I settled on a gorgeous piece of silver leather. I created a pattern and riveted the pieces together, then used a piece of metallic elastic and a clasp to hold it on. It worked fairly well, but I would definitely do it differently were I to do it again.
Overall, I was pleased with the final result, and my daughter was ecstatic. She insisted on the helmet, and well, I’m not one to argue. It is HER costume, after all!
And to recap the last few years of costumes:
Year one of costuming: Belly dancers (me@ 8 months pregnant)
Year two: Pebbles and Bam Bam
Year three: Jacques Cousteau discovers a beautiful mermaid
Year four: Astrid’s little brother, who could not decide between being a Viking and being a robot, so we made both.